For 2020 I decided to challenge myself to try something new every month. Everything from Yoga everyday to no sugar for a month. In July I tried to go without Social Media. I uninstalled Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram. I allowed myself FB Messenger as that's how I keep in touch with family and friends. I allowed Twitch and Youtube as I use those as learning resources.
Every week I wrote down my experience as follows.
First 24h without social media. I already feel my mind being less cluttered. I'm experimenting with other things to do instead of scrolling when I'm bored. I spent 2 hours commuting yesterday so I listened to 2 podcasts during that time and looked at people looking at their phones in slight awe.
I don't miss it as much as I thought I would. I haven't found myself "craving" it or anything... yet! I think I feel less stress because I have so much time to do other things now when I don't have that option available to pass time whenever I want. I listen to podcasts and lay puzzles on jigsawpuzzles.io a lot more which also decreases my stress.
I've now gone a full week without social media \o/ The benefits are still stacking while the dreaded drawbacks remain unnoticeable.
- Clearer Mindspace, I feel my mind is not as cluttered with various topics I would've usually gathered throughout a normal day from Social media. This helps me fall asleep much faster, I feel less stressed overall and more focused.
- Time saving, I used to spend a couple hours a day scrolling social media. That's now time I've taken to reading, playing games with friends, going for walks, playing with my cats etc. Activities which typically also make me more relaxed. ++
- FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. I thought this was going to be my biggest upset with this challenge. The thing is, if you don't know what's going on it's hard to feel FOMO. Generally speaking I think I felt more FOMO while on Social Media because then you compare yourself to others and their activities all the time. So I can almost add this back to the benefit side at this point.
It has come to a point where I don’t think about it at all anymore. Sometimes I catch myself wanting to share a fun photo I’ve taken to Instagram but I end up sending it via Messenger to whomever I thought might enjoy it which usually sparks a brief conversation which has been nice.
I’m still feeling the same as the first week, no huge difference but still feeling more relaxed and laid back. The 1st week of vacation could also have contributed to this and I managed to catch a cold with a sore throat and headaches which put me in bed for 3 days. Without social media my sick days were spent watching tons of documentaries. Felt that I was more focused watching those than usual since I typically distract myself with social media browsing. Not anymore!
So this month has been everything I didn’t expect it to be. I’ve done monthly challenges this whole year with the goal to challenge myself into better habits. The social media month is one I’ve been dreading the most. I went into it thinking I would feel left out and lonely. How many things would I miss out on because I wasn’t reading on my social media platforms?
Turns out, nothing.
I mean probably something but nothing that I’m aware of.
And that’s the thing. You don't experience fomo when you don’t know what’s going on. The upside has made me feel less stressed and my mind has felt at ease, which has been a great feeling throughout this month.
This whole month has been great and I haven’t missed social media at all really. I’ve had more time for important stuff instead of stressing about what everyone else is doing all the time.
I will probably continue to minimize my social media consumption, maybe only allow myself on the weekends or so, if I feel like it.
I recommend everyone who feels like they’re spending too much time on their Instagram or Facebook or TikTok to try uninstalling everything from your phone for at least a week. It will be worth it!